Research in pigs shakes up what we know about death |  CNN

Research in pigs shakes up what we know about death | CNN

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Researchers at Yale University say they were able to restore blood circulation and other cellular functions in pigs up to an hour after the animals had died, indicating that the cells are not dying as quickly as the scientists had assumed.

With more research, the cutting-edge technology could one day help preserve human organs for longer, allowing more people to receive transplants.

The researchers used a system they developed called OrganEx that allows oxygen to be recycled throughout the dead pig’s body, preserving cells and some organs after cardiac arrest.

Dr. said. Nenad Sestan, Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurology and Professor of Comparative Medicine, Genetics, and Psychiatry at Yale University, who led the study.

And what this tells us is that cell demise can be stopped. And restore their functions in many vital organs. “Even an hour after death,” he told a news briefing.

The scientific journal Nature published the research on Wednesday.

“This is a really fascinating and incredibly important study. It shows that after death, cells in mammalian organs (including humans) do not die like the brain for several hours,” said Dr. Sam Parnea, associate professor of critical care medicine and director of critical care and resuscitation research at Grossman College. of New York University Medicine, told the Science Media Center in London, that this had reached the post-mortem period.Parnia was not involved in the research.

The OrganEx system injects a fluid called perfusate, mixed with blood, throughout the blood vessels of dead pigs. Perfusate contains a synthetic form of the protein hemoglobin and many other compounds and molecules that help protect cells and prevent blood clots. After six hours of treatment with OrganEx, the team found that some key cellular functions were active in many areas of the pigs’ bodies – including the heart, liver and kidneys, and that some organ function had been restored.

It builds on research published by the same team in 2019 that used a similar experimental system called BrainEx that provides artificial blood to pig brains, preventing the deterioration of important neurological functions.

While the research is still at a very early stage and very experimental, the researchers said they hope their work in pigs will eventually be applied to humans, primarily in terms of developing ways to extend the window for transplants. The current supply of organs is very limited, with millions of people around the world waiting for transplants.

“I think the technology holds a lot of hope for our ability to preserve organs after they’ve been removed from a donor,” co-author Stephen Latham, director of the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, said at the press conference.

“You can take the organ from a deceased donor, connect it with perfusion technology, and then maybe be able to move it long distances over a long period of time to get it to a recipient who needs it.”

The researchers explained that they are by no means bringing pigs back to life and that more work needs to be done to understand whether the organs are usable for transplants.

“We can’t say that this study showed that any of this pig’s organs were…ready to be transplanted into other animals, we don’t know they all work, and what we’re looking at is at cell and metabolic levels,” Latham explained. And about to say, ‘Oh my God, we’ve brought life back not just to this pig, but to any of the individual organs.’ We can’t say that yet. It’s still too early.”

In an article published alongside the study, Dr. Robert J. Port of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands said the research has the potential to lead to new treatment strategies for people suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

“One could imagine that the OrganEx system (or its components) could be used to treat these people in emergency situations. It is worth noting, though, that more research will be needed first to confirm the safety of these people,” said Porte, who was not involved in the research. System components in specific clinical situations.

However, Latham said such a possibility is “very remote”.

“The idea of ​​tying (a) someone who has had an ischemic injury to, you know, someone who has drowned or who has had a heart attack, I think is very remote. The most promising potential short-term use here is organ preservation for transplant.”

The researchers used up to 100 pigs as part of the study and the animals were under anesthesia when they caused the heart attack.

Sestan said the research is also helping scientists better understand the dying process — something that has been relatively understudied.

“Within minutes after the heart stops beating, there is a whole cascade of biochemical events caused by the lack of blood flow, which is ischemia. What causes the oxygen and nutrients that cells need to survive. This begins to destroy the cells.

What we showed… is that this progression toward massive, permanent cellular failure, is not happening so quickly that it cannot be warned, or perhaps even corrected.”

#Research #pigs #shakes #death #CNN

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